June 3, 2023

woman wearing ribbon hairstyle

We all have our go-to hairstyles: a quick, loose braid, a sassy high pony, maybe even a chic topknot now and then. Sometimes, these looks start to look a bit tired or perhaps under-done for a certain event. Ribbons can be the perfect addition to any hairstyle, adding new life to a tried-and-true favorite. A ribbon hairstyle has endless iterations, from a simple knot around a ponytail or bun to a full-blown ribbon braid.

Ribbons are showing up everywhere these days, from Instagram to the red carpet, but they are hardly a new trend. You may have quite a few childhood photos with bows and other ribbon accessories. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact origin of ribbon hairstyles, but Shirley Temple and Frida Kahlo were two women who exemplified ribbon hairstyles in their lifetimes.

Ribbon hairstyles are easy to master on yourself with the help of either traditional ribbon or scarves. You can tailor these looks to your liking and spruce up your favorite ‘do. For advice on how to master the ribbon hairstyle at home, we turned to two experts for their tips. Keep reading for what they had to say.


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Incorporate a Classic Bow

You cannot go wrong with a simple, classic bow. This look is perfect for curly or textured hair because you can secure your hair in a curly-safe pineapple and add your ribbon accent to elevate your protective styling.

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Triple Up on Ribbon

Why stop at just one ribbon? Multiple small ribbons are an easy way to incorporate ribbons throughout a hairstyle with ease. This triple-ribbon look is a great way to accent a normal braid.

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Braid a Frida Kahlo-Inspired Crown

One of the original braid crown icons, Frida Kahlo was pictured with ribbons incorporated into her intricately braided updos. Morales credits Kahlo as an originator of the trend: “I am sure Frida Kahlo has to do something with it. She had fun with her beautiful hair and created this trademark over the years. I am almost sure this trend comes from her.” A true crown braid can be difficult to master on your own, so an easy dupe is to form two separate braids and pin them to the crown of your head. You can emulate Frida by integrating a ribbon throughout your braids before pulling them up into a crown.


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Elevate Your Standard Ponytail

Take your standard ponytail to the next level with elegant ribbon such as satin. Once your hair is up in a high ponytail, tie a piece of satin ribbon into a bow around the base. Morales says, “I like to incorporate ribbons into hair by doing braids, buns, and ponytails. I love the way it changes the look and makes it more fun.”

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Use Textured Ribbon for Contrast

Hailey Bieber’s sleek updo is the perfect contrast to this velvet textured bow. Ribbon fabrics vary, so try using something with texture for added intrigue and definition to your look. If attempting a sleek look like this, Morales recommends using a leave-in conditioner for smoothness and control for your hair, like Garnier’s Miracle Milk Coconut Oil & Cocoa Butter Frizz-Remedy Leave-in.

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Show Your Pride

Ribbons are also a great way to make a statement. There are ribbon colors for all kinds of causes you may be passionate about. Feel free to rock this look at an event or at work to show support. This triple bow look is a beautiful nod to the Pride flag. Trendy and meaningful—what more can you ask from a hairstyle?

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Play with Punchy Patterns

Monochrome and neutrals make for great outfits, but what better way to spice up a subdued look than with a patterned ribbon? Ribbons in popular patterns like polka dots and leopard print could be exactly what you need to finish your look.

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Add a Dramatically Long Ribbon

One ribbon hairstyle that is sure to add some drama to an everyday hairstyle: using extra-long ribbon. The cascade of ribbon extending past the length of your hair is sure to turn heads and give off an almost Rapunzel vibe. When selecting a ribbon for this look, the longer, the better, especially if you’re creating a bow.

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Coordinate Your Whole Look

Finding a similarly patterned ribbon is a great way to tie your hair into your whole outfit. Here, a simple low ponytail is instantly elevated by using a ribbon that is coordinated with the striped pants. Keeping a neutral color, like a white top in-between, avoids the dreaded matchy-matchy look.

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Accessorize Your Ribbon

Ribbon hairstyles are further elevated by the addition of other clips and accessories. In this look, the bow has been accentuated by the addition of a bejeweled clip. You can replicate this look with any hair clips or even brooches you have on hand.

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Create a Braided Bun

Start by braiding your hair and incorporating the ribbon of your choice into the braid. Once finished, wrap the braid into a bun and secure it in place. Make sure to tease the braid a bit before pulling it into a bun and again once it’s secure to make sure the ribbon pops. Kim says that “there are so many ways you can incorporate a ribbon into your hair, but some of my favorite ways to do it are weaving it into a loose braid or tying it at the end of your braid. The fun part is choosing the different materials you can use, from thick satin ribbons to printed scarves.”

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Cover Bun with Ribbon

Sometimes even the sleekest bun has flyaways. One way to create a flawlessly smooth finish is with a satin ribbon covering. Select a thick ribbon or scarf to provide enough fabric to cover the diameter of your bun. After creating the bun, cover the bun with the ribbon and secure it with an elastic. Finish by wrapping the ends of the ribbon around the bun and tying them into a bow.

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Upgrade Your Elastic

Short hair looks great when pulled back into a low pony at the nape of the neck. Instead of a traditional elastic, swap in a small chic bow. This blue bow look complements her patterned coat and dark hair. Kim suggests that beginners “start with a messier look so that imperfections are less noticeable and actually look good with them.”

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Try a Classic Black & White Look

A black-and-white bow is sure to make any hair color stand out. In this look, the bow helps to accentuate the hair’s highlights and curls. A ribbon is a versatile hair accessory because you can tie it as tight or as loose as you prefer. This is great for curly hair, as it allows you to tie back hair without damaging your curl pattern.

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Secure a Half-Up Hairdo

A half-up hairdo is an easy style to take you from work to happy hour. This loose, half-up look is made more versatile by the addition of ribbons. By securing your half-up hair with a ribbon, you reduce your chances of denting your hair, allowing you the freedom of letting it down later.

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Use Ribbon as a Headband

A ribbon headband is one way to make a last-minute hairstyle look intentional. After styling your hair into a low bun, take a thin piece of ribbon around your head and secure it at the nape of your neck. Tie a bow for a polished look. Ribbon headbands may be more comfortable than traditional headbands, as you can customize how tightly they fit.

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Bring in a Bold Pop of Color

Braiding in vivid ribbon is a great way to bring a pop of color to your outfit. Bright red ribbon looks especially interesting against dark-colored hair. By creating a crown braid, the color is front and center for all to see. If attempting a crown braid, Morales says it is important to have detangled hair. “If you have it very long, you can divide it in two and incorporate the ribbon or handkerchief in the braid, then bring it up like it’s a crown,” Morales says, “For those who have fine hair, use dry shampoo to give volume and texture. I love the new Garnier invisible Dry Shampoo in Beach Tonic.”